U.S. officials seem to be pretty much unanimous on the need to meddle in Venezuela’s seemingly endless government crises. Yet a very core difference in how to approach this is leading to considerable dispute over the State Department’s latest program.
State is paying some $900,000 to the Atlantic Council to “promote non-violent conflict resolution” in Venezuela, which is their subtle way of saying they’re trying to buy a regime change and the installation of a “democratically-run government,” obviously run by someone the U.S. likes.
What this boils down to is indirect funding for the Venezuelan opposition, one of many times when the State Department has put money into the hands of a think-tank to get them to try to coach a U.S.-friendly opposition movement into being both more successful politically and more beholden to U.S. interests.
Those for whom U.S.-imposed regime change usually means coup or war, particularly Congressional hawks, are expressing major opposition to the State Department plan, saying it is a waste of money and “buys Maduro time,” in as much as so long as the State Department is trying something short of an invasion, they’re not invading.
Absent from the debate on Venezuela is the option of staying out of the matter entirely. That’s something Venezuelan opposition figures have long urged of the U.S., noting that any whiff of U.S. meddling gives the government an excuse to paint the whole opposition as American puppets, and justify another crackdown.
Indeed, the simple fact that the State Department effort is public knowledge probably more than negates any impact it might have, as the damage done to opposition groups for taking this money will likely outstrip the $900,000 in aid they got.